Being a Diplomat Beats Being a Snob Everyday

“No yellow beer.”

“Tell them to carry beer with flavor.”

These are two comments we received at the recent Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. It was by far one of the best organized festivals we’ve had the pleasure of participating in.

Organization notwithstanding, it’s a shame that there’s so much beer racism and snobbery in our country. Here we are, at a multi generational, multi century event and people are being prejudice. Not a good example nor something to be proud of. Some may say “it’s people being people.” To that I say BALONEY!!!

Mt. Angel, OR, Oktoberfest 2012

The only way we all make progress is to be diplomatic and open-minded. We’re not talking about what you choose to believe based on intelligent thinking and personal preferences. That’s up to you AFTER you’ve enjoyed trying different beers with an open mind. And you should still be diplomatic about some things, like opinions on beer. Chances are good lots of people have contributed to the work that’s now in the glass. Do you want someone commenting negatively on the work you do?

We’re talking about being open-minded, open to suggestion, and not being prejudice of what someone chooses to serve or drink. It’s all beer to start with. And if you can’t be open to what others may like and want to drink, shame on you.

To me being part of the greater beer community is being part of a bigger think. It’s talking, laughing, trying, discussing, and furthering the intelligence of the entire society, not denigrating or tearing something down because you simply don’t want to drink it. And no, calling yourself a ‘snob’ shouldn’t be a badge of pride; it should be a scarlet letter. Who wants to hang with a snob?! Not I….

Next time you either think it or hear yourself says something like the above, rethink it first. Liking what you like is part of what makes beer so engaging: it’s all different, there’s a beer for everybody, and if we all sip together no matter what’s in our glass, we all come out ahead.

Cheers to Beer Diplomacy, not Snobbery.

p.s. The German’s and their ‘yellow’ beer should be lauded for high quality, not pulled down for color. Who the hell cares what color it is….color is not a flavor.

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Fighting Beer Racism

Light in color only - until you try it

How many times we’ve heard the myth perpetuated: “I don’t like dark beers.” “I don’t like light beers.” “I don’t like beer.” And so on….have you heard any of these?

These are all easily changeable statements WHEN you find out why the brain attached to the mouth that is offering this nugget is stating it. The psychographics – The Why – of peoples’ reasoning puts the value in finding out what consumers like and don’t like. Unless you know The Why, all other data is benign.

Since marketing craft/beer to women is our speciality, we’ll expound on a few of the actual meanings behind these curt and abrupt sentences.

1.“I don’t like dark beers.” Color in beer comes from the ingredients. Somewhere along the way people have built this really strong and inaccurate bridge to the the 2 thoughts that dark has to mean ‘heavy’ (another most unfavored descriptor). Dark simply means it has a dark color. That’s it. If you’re in the beer business you MUST help shatter this myth of dark color = heavy experience. When women say this they may mean they have not liked the darker colored beers they’ve had before (for myriad reasons), they may be uncomfortable in drinking another dark colored beer because they had one (!) before and didn’t like it (again, for multiple reasons), or they are a beer racist which can have a few points of origin.

Dark in color only - until you taste it

2. “I don’t like light beers.” Again, the correlation to what light means is the staring point for helping educate women and beer color. Do they mean light flavor? Light color? Light body? Education is the key to soundly shattering these color racism myths. Take every single opportunity to talk about what ‘light’ can mean with women and men in relation to their beers. Because it’s almost a crime in some beer snob circles to be caught drinking a light colored beer under the assumption that they are wimpy, inferior or otherwise “not craft”(which is a load of compost), some enthusiasts are not going to order them. This is the wrong kind of peer pressure to apply to beer enthusiasm. Like what you like and don’t judge others.  This comment can come from a woman who simply does not like the flavor of the light colored beers she’s had, perhaps has drank a skunked beer in some setting that happened to look like other light colored beers available, or have other emotional experiences that conjure up the ‘no thanks’ reaction.

3. “I don’t like beer.” This is perhaps my favorite response to women whom I listen to and talk with. There’s the lean in – they get just a smidge closer and lower their voice slightly and utter this phrase like it’s a confession. I smile and ask them why, what kinds of beers they’ve had, and we take the conversation from there. This response almost always comes from a few consistent reasonings. They have a bad beer memory (self induced or otherwise), they are allergic, they have alcoholism in the family and stay away from all alcohols, or they simply have not had a beer they have enjoyed. Here again, once you know The Why you can engage in a conversation about beer. And they don’t even have to drink it to enjoy it.

All of these are great entrees into beer conversations. Whether women like/drink/hate beer or not, there is a fascination that cannot be denied and must be talked about.

We’ll keep talking with women, finding out The Why and offering educational moments of enlightenment. The story could start “it was a dark and light bodied beer…”

What are you doing to fight beer racism?

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Debunk Beer Myths

Debunk the things you think are myths to you. Let me give you a few examples of myths WEB is working on debunking.

1. Women Like Beer. This is the truth. This is the truth for women who are independent thinkers, have friends (of all genders) supporting their choices, have been given the opportunity to learn about beer, have not been patronized or slighted, have been invited into the conversations about beer. If you’re a beer oriented business, you better get a move on in properly including women. Hint: Beer is not a gender product; it’s a passion product. Sell it sexless.

2. Women are Women. Not Girls (this is a bad choice of group title), Chicks (so is this – especially since beerchicks.com is soft porn…connection anyone??), Babes, Broads, of Ladies. DO NOT trade out sex for intelligence. Men don’t call themselves the Dick Drinkers, Beer for Boys, or other gender labeled titles…why would women subject themselves to these titles?? If you’re part of one of these groups, I strongly recommend renaming the group. It’s not important what you think a name is clever. What’s important is what resonates and how it speaks to the rest of the population. Step outside yourself when you name a group to see how it could be interpreted. Sexism in the beer world is sadly partially perpetuated by women – these titles are counter productive.  This is a good naming example.

3. Color does not equate universally to flavor. If I had a dollar for every time someone says they don’t want or do want a ‘dark beer’, I could fly my entire monthly WEB meet up to Belgium. Twice a year. AAAUGGGHHH!!! Color is related to color of ingredients, specifically the roasted (or kilned) level of the malted barley or other ingredients that have color to them. Yes, there are relations yet not foregone conclusions. Drink blindly. Don’t be a beer racist.

Go forth and debunk.

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